NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

June 9, 2014

Island group seeks Newburyport police protection

PLUM ISLAND — With frustration mounting over how local police responded to last month’s attack of two women outside a Donna’s Way house, the Plum Island Taxpayers and Associates recently discussed the possibility of town officials giving Newburyport police jurisdiction over the entire island.

PITA Board of Directors President Ron Barrett said the topic came up during Wednesday’s monthly meeting of the group inside PITA Hall, located just yards away from where the two women were seriously injured.

No action was taken during the meeting and Barrett conceded the idea may prove pointless. But the mere fact that the topic was broached is a sign that emotions are still raw almost three weeks after the incident.

“We know that’s not going to happen, but something has to be done,” said Barrett.

PITA is a private association of Plum Island property owners. It maintains a meeting hall on the island, and does numerous civic activities on the island, such as laying out public ways to the beach.

This is not the first time that islanders have sought to distance themselves from Newbury. There has been talk over the years of splitting off entirely from the town.

While it’s unlikely that the island could enter into an agreement with Newburyport police, the possibility does exist. According to Newbury town officials, it is legally possible for the town to contract with another agency to watch over Plum Island. The northernmost part of Plum Island is within Newburyport city limits, meaning that Newburyport police drive through Newbury’s portion of the island on a regular basis.

However, Newbury Town Manager Tracy Blais yesterday said the idea of Newburyport patroling all of Plum Island is “a discussion the town is not prepared to have,” adding her office has yet to receive a complaint regarding the police department’s handling of the incident.

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